Equipping the Church to Provide Meaningful Care Through Training


And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2

The Need

•    Are you and your church overwhelmed and struggling to meet the needs of others?
•    Does the weight of needs outweigh your church’s capacity to offer adequate help?
•    Do you feel ineffective to equip others in your church to help?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Almost every person in pastoral ministry feels this way. One of the Institute's priorities is helping leaders and churches assess and improve the care they provide as they pastor people. If this is something you need help with, keep reading.

Consider this common scenario. Most churches, based upon their size, hire staff for preaching, worship, missions, youth and children’s ministries. Yet once the church is established and the needs of the people become apparent, a church is typically unprepared. Individuals, couples and families who need help cannot find it because there is no point person skilled to mobilize wise counseling ministry. 

The Solution

The church is to be a ministering community where everyone has a role to play in the growth of others. In order to cultivate this kind of community, three things are necessary for leaders to embrace.

1.    Vision
It is imperative for the church to see itself as a ministering community, not just a community that hires ministers. Too often, churches look to the “ministers” to do the work of ministry. This is not helpful or biblical. It is the minister’s job to equip others to assist (Ephesians 4:11-13).

2.    Structure
The second important aspect of training involves helping the leaders to establish a context-sensitive structure and process where care can be provided. This may include starting or assessing the small group structure. How can it be utilized more effectively? What training do small group leaders need? Is there a need for wise lay people with more life experience to be involved? How do small group leaders and lay-counselors relate wisely with church leaders who are called to shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:1-4)?

3.    Training
If you are going to cast vision and create wise structures for pastoral care, you must provide practical training.  People need skills to confidently help another person. Well-meaning but ill-equipped helpers have the potential to do more harm than good!

The Process

In order to accomplish the three goals above, a process must be followed to insure that the vision, solution and training fit the unique context of the church. Since every church is different, this must begin wisely and move slowly. Below is our 4-fold process.

1.    Getting to Know the Church and its Leaders

The first step involves asking questions and listening. It is imperative to understand the church and listen to the leaders who have been caring for the congregation. We will make an initial visit to get to know the church and its leaders. This is where we both celebrate the positive and listen well before giving guidance or suggesting strategies of change.

2.    Casting Vision for a Ministering Community

The second important step is to encourage the church to see itself as a ministering community, not just a community that hires ministers. As was stated earlier, the leaders are to equip others to assist in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). In order to accomplish this, we will spend time interacting with the core leaders of the church providing training and a vision for this type of church culture.

3.    Assessing Current Care Structures

The third step of training involves helping leaders to establish context-sensitive structure where wise care can be provided. This will begin with an assessment of what is already in place. How can current programs be utilized more effectively? What training do small group leaders need? Is there a need for wise lay people with more life experience to be involved? How do small group leaders and lay-counselors relate wisely with church leaders who are called to shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:1-4)? 

4.    Practical Training

Fourth, if you are going to cast vision and create wise structures for pastoral care, you must provide practical training.  People need skills to confidently help another person. Well-meaning helpers have the potential to do more harm than good! Practical equipping is accomplished through training with the Transformation Series Curricula (outlined below). Each comes with a Leader’s Guide and Participant Workbook. Time will be spent equipping the leader/s to effectively teach the material in their church. Each piece of curriculum is grace oriented and focuses on Christ. They do not emphasize a program but serve as a resource designed to connect the participants more to the person of Jesus.

 

A Few of the Tools

Transformation Series Curriculum

The Transformation Series Curriculum provides the foundation for what the leaders will be using to equip their people. We will train leaders how to properly use the material to insure quality equipping.

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How People Change

This material is a practical introduction to the Christian life. It lays out a transferable and understandable picture of how change happens in a person’s life by God’s grace. Fundamental questions include “Why do people do the things they do?” and “How does lasting change take place?” Once someone goes through the curriculum they gain self-understanding as well as an understanding of how to help others.

 

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Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands

This piece of curriculum is a practical introduction to helping others grow and change. By following the model of how Christ came and cared for lost sheep, the participants grow in their ability to compassionately walk with another person as they encourage them in their Christian life. The fundamental question this resource is answering is, “How can I wisely help another person grow in grace?”

 

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Change and Your Relationships

This final resource delves into basic relationship skills as well as character issues that are essential for people to embody as they seek to help others. The most powerful context for lasting change to take place is within the framework of relationships with others. Since that is the case, it is imperative for leaders and those they train to grow in their relationship skills.

 

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